Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has told The Guardian the club are still trying to persuade young duo Tahith Chong and Angel Gomes to sign new deals.
Both players’ contracts are set to expire in June and there is a very real danger both players leave the club.
This was underlined this week as both lined up for the under-19s in a friendly against Club Brugge, instead of being included in the first team’s Europa League match.
Chong was on target and Solskjaer insisted this was more beneficial to the teenager.
Solskjaer said: “Tahith scored. He’d rather play a game than sit in the stands. He’s just making sure that he’s ready when he gets a chance. He played really well against Wolverhampton in the FA Cup and I’m very pleased with him.
“The boys have got a great attitude. They’re absolutely top-class boys and we’re doing what we can to keep them because in a few years we can see them becoming very very good players.”
Long term view
United may not deem Chong and Gomes to be ready as major contributors right now but there is understandably a big hope they can be in the future.
Chong and Gomes need to buy into this backing and be patient.
That will be very tough, as they will undoubtedly have offers already and approaches from agents promising them opportunities at clubs where they can play right away.
Give them creative control
So how can United combat this, considering new signings set to be made this summer will make their first team chances more difficult not easier?
Barring a late season surge and change of fortunes, the best scenario for Gomes and Chong if they stay is to go out on loan.
This is where United might need to give them creative control over their futures.
United should ask Chong and Gomes to pick a choice of club, or two or three clubs, who they would like to join on loan for the season.
Then it should be up to United to make that deal happen, providing there’s a mutual agreement it’s in the players’ interests.
This is better than the players being told United will field offers and end up at a club they would not have picked if given the chance. Look at Joel Pereira’s move to Hearts. This was hardly likely to have been his first choice.
Chong and Gomes would probably be better served joining a team in the Dutch or German league on loan where their technical ability can shine.
It is important they find a team where they can play regularly, and this way, if they do so and perform well, they can head back to United stronger than ever.
If they want to give up on their United dream, then that’s up to them, and it would be a shame.
But if United are to convince them to sign new deals then there needs to be some concession on the club’s part, and this means letting them be proactive about leaving on loan next season and giving them creative freedom to choose their own pathway.
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